Weekly digestion, but first, Vic Chesnutt
“Weekly” is stretching it. Over the holidays, I gave myself as much of a break as I could from computers and even checking out new stuff. Consider this a catch-up edition.
I fear that over time, people will realize less and less what we lost when Vic Chesnutt died. I can name a lot of good songwriters going today, but not one whose music has been so beautifully crushing. Kristin Hersh’s website is taking donations for his family. I guess what upsets me the most is that when I interviewed him in October, he said that his song “Flirted With You All My Life” was “the song of a suicide’s realization that he wants to live.” Somehow, it seems appropriate to note that he also corrected my pronunciation of “Guy Picciotto.” Thanks, Vic!
I also saw him twice. The first time, he provided a gloomy opening set for a bunch of Jonathan Richman fans anxious to start singing along to “I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar.” The second time, on the awesome joint tour with Elf Power last year, he noted that, “though a bit precocious” (imagine a gently scolding grandma voice), the local opening band, Whatfor, had been his favorite support act of the tour so far.
OK, time to get on with it.
Charlie Louvin at New World Brewery, Ybor City, Dec. 20: Apparently, people in Florida need a heater for patio shows when it’s 60 degrees out. Hearing an 82-year-old country singer say things like, “If I weren’t up here slavin’ over this hot mic, I’d go out and catch me some beaver!” is the champagne of inappropriate.
The Magnetic Fields, Realism: The songs aren’t yet hitting me like they did on Distortion, but the production—think I‘s uppity stepsister—throws just the kind of witty curveball I expect from anything Stephin Merritt does. Also, a pop record that uses the word “if’n”!
Helen Money, In Tune: A cellist metal fans embrace, but it reminds me more of a creepy, minimal Barbez.
Retribution Gospel Choir, 2: A.V. Club review going up when it comes out on the 26th. RGC’s first record didn’t do justice to how awesome they are live (one of my favorite bands to see), but this one really expands on the sound. Really, can’t go wrong with anything that involves Alan Sparhawk of Low.
Battlefields, Decapitado, and Wife, Jan. 13, The Frequency: I went back and forth on Battlefields’ recorded stuff—pretty metal can lose some of its punch on record—but they brought the ballsy loudness here. Decapitado features Dan Kubinski of Die Kreuzen on bass and vocals. He’s a super-friendly guy, as it turns out, and his high snarl goes well with the band’s noisy industrial-metal sound. Wife’s a new local band that has just a few songs and some really over-the-top Maiden/Priest-style vocals, which I suppose Madison could use some more of.
Bill Bryson, I’m A Stranger Here Myself: The laughs remind me of reading Dave Barry for the first time as a kid.
Corpse Bride: A Christmas present from my sister. It’s time to stop neglecting Tim Burton, yep.
Slayer, World Painted Blood: I’m glad I work with a guy who can appreciate me putting stuff like this on our office boombox.
Lightnin’ Hopkins compilation: “Let Me Play With Your Poodle,” and a woman who “walks just like she got oil wells in her backyard.” Why do I not listen to old acoustic blues every damn day?
…and plenty more, but those are my favorites lately. Expect more regular ramblings and a new clips site before long.